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Encapsulating a crawl space is a common way to deal with moisture or flooding. It is also an easy way to quickly get control of the air quality in the home and lockout rodents and insects. When you’re thinking about “green-ovating” your home, or simply getting control of the moisture or humidity, when you have a crawl space, you must encapsulate.

Encapsulation does a great deal for the crawlspace and for the home above.

crawl space definition

What the process is and what it does

The practice of encapsulating or “sealing off” a crawlspace is done to lock out moisture and cut off the connection between moisture, water and the joists of a home. By running a vapor barrier down the walls of a crawl space to completely cover the floor, you essential separate the outside from the inside of the home.

This vapor barrier will be the flexible membrane between the walls and floor and the rest of the home. A properly designed vapor barrier will limit the transfer of moisture through it while regulating the speed at which air will naturally pass through. This helps to limit and control the amount of moisture that will find its way into the air space and completely segregate liquid water and direct it to a sump location.

finished crawl space

5 helpful tips when having a Vapor Barrier installed in your crawlspace:

1.) Not all vapor barriers are made for this task – careful. There are many products out in the world that claim to be able to fully encapsulate a crawl space. Make sure that your vapor barrier has a low “perm” rate and that it is at least 14mil thick. If you’re planning to use the space for storage make sure that a flexible sub-flooring product is also placed on top of the vapor barrier to protect it.

2.) Cover the walls too – all too often contractors forget to also encapsulate the walls of the crawl space when installing a vapor barrier. This can still allow water and moisture into the basement and therefore render the whole project useless. Take care to make sure it’s installed properly.

3.) Don’t use sprays. – Sealants and sprays aren’t designed to be applied on the interior of the basement. They are good in many circumstances as the “first line of defense” but as the last, they can’t hold the pressure and moisture trapped in a wall.

4.) Install a sump and a dehumidifier – to totally control the moisture level in the crawl space it’s imperative that you have a sump pump and a dehumidifier installed. Moisture will still exist, although not to dangerous levels, but a sump will remove any liquid water your encapsulation traps, and the dehumidifier will deal with any residual moisture that naturally collects in the space.

Crawl Space Vapor Barrier - A Beginner's Guide On Buying The Right One

crawlspace waterproofing

A crawl space dig out is the process of turning your crawl space into a basement. This vastly increases storage space and can, in some cases, increase living space as well.

But, a crawl space dig out can be an enormous and daunting task. And, if done improperly, it can be dangerous. If you don't want to have a professional do it for you, please follow the steps below.

To get started, find place in the outside wall of your crawl space that you can safely enter the new basement with a temporary or permanent set of steps. Make sure the wall opening is big enough to handle at least a 36-inch door, preferably making the area for the steps at least 48-inches wide.

Warning:

If your soil is sandy or gravel and or may be full of water at least part of the year do not consider this procedure, it is very dangerous and you may damage or lose your house.

Make sure that prior to digging the hole for the outside exit, please build a header of sufficient size to hold the floor of the home where you will be removing the old foundation.

You need to excavate to a depth that will accommodate a four-inch concrete slab and still have at least 7-foot, 6-inches of clearance under your floor joist. It is entirely possible that you will have 48 inches of soil to remove.

When digging out a crawl space, you can not excavate any closer than 24 inches away from the existing foundation.

You can remove the soil sufficiently to work along the wall without removing the entire area you wish to change.

When you get the soil out to a depth that you prefer, pour a footer that is eight inches thick and 16 inches wide. The footer should be below the bottom of the new slab so it is a good idea to dig the area for the footer below the level you remove for the floor area. This is a very important step in a crawl space dig out.

Then, when your block is level with bottom of the old foundation wall you need to pour a four-inch thick slab of concrete on top of the wall and over to the outside existing wall.

Prior to pouring your "Cap" you must fill between the block and soil that is under the old foundation with fill sand or "Pea-gravel." Assuming that you probably have some kind of support under the center section of the floor system, you will have to provide support for the beam that is presently supporting the floor while excavate for a new footer for a steel post that will hold the floor of your new space.

Make sure your footer for this part of the project is about eight inches thick & 24 inches square.

You will need to level the floor area for your new slab and install four inches of perforated plastic pipe draining to a sub pit with an automatic sub pump that dispenses the water to the outside at least five to ten feet away from the foundation of the home. I'd suggest using "Pea-gravel" for fill under the slab but you can you fill sand also.

Now, build your stairs to the outside in a similar fashion but you need to cover it with a steel "pre-fab" unit such as a "BILCO."

If you do this correctly and maintain it, it will last for many, many years. It is strongly suggested you get a professional to do this job or at least help with it because mistakes can be dangerous and very costly.

A Closed, Sealed Crawlspace - What a Really Bad Idea

crawl space definition

The crawl space has an integral role towards a home's overall value as well as the living space above. Most homeowners don't think twice about their crawl space unless they have to make repairs to plumbing, heating ducts or house wiring. While often thought of as no more than a storage area, it also has a tremendous impact on the overall indoor air quality of the entire home.

By default, the air quality of a crawl space is typically poor. Mold, mildew, radon gas and poor energy efficiency all create several problems. The air that circulates within it eventually makes its way up through the living space. Scientific studies show that up to 50% of living space air originates from the lowest level of the home. With homeowners more concerned about their home's indoor air quality, the encapsulating of crawl spaces has become a popular solution for such problems.

A damp crawl space creates a safe harbor for harmful molds, in addition to dust mites, termites and other bugs that can infest the home. The presence of excessive moisture will also create a serious problem with the probability for the wooden structure of a home to deteriorate. Crawl space vents pose a further problem. While believed to be a solution to moisture problems, they unfortunately make the problem worse. As it turns out, the vents allow cold air and moisture in, which rises into the living area and therefore decreases the heating efficiency of the entire home.

Another all-too-common problem associated with crawl spaces is radon gas. Though it cannot be seen, smelled or tasted, radon is a radioactive gas that can contribute to poor health, including cancer. Radon gas makes its way through the earth, into the crawl space and the home's living space. According to the U.S.E.P.A., radon gas is the number one leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers.

Ignoring these various conditions is not recommended for both long-term health and energy usage. Fully encapsulating a crawl space - by both sealing and insulating - is a fully efficient measure in addressing such problems. It makes sense to maintain and improve the lower level area in order to maximize healthy living conditions and home resale value.

While there are several systems for encapsulatiing, a zero perm liner system that also insulates and reflects heat provides the most benefits. With a proper floor and wall liner, the area will not only be well insulated, but will seal out moisture, bug infestation and radon gas. Other components to look for in a system include a radon gas-dispersing drain fabric, a radon gas ventilation pipe and a ceiling heat shield.

A complete system with all of the above components will allow any soil gases - including radon gas - that naturally occur under the liner system, to wick through the drain fabric and escape out through the ventilation pipe. While improved indoor air quality is the primary benefit of a sealed and insulated crawl space, the homeowner will also appreciate a bright, clean, and dry storage area; the ridding of musty smells; less energy usage; and tax credits. Contractors encapsulating crawl spaces will have more to offer to their clients when they can assure the peace of mind with improved indoor air quality.


Crawl Space Repair In Yorkville TN

Crawl Space Waterproofing & Mold Remediation

There is a very good reason as to why companies like Crawl Space Repair in Yorkville TN exist – not everyone is comfortable with the idea of making his or her way through a crawl space in order to troubleshoot problems in a home or a building. With humidity levels being consistently high regardless of the seasons in Knoxville, TN, you can be sure that mold growth, as well as dampness in a building, is going to be a constant menace that needs to be remedied. Crawl Space Masters is a reliable name when it comes to basement waterproofing and crawl space repair in Knoxville, TN.

Some of the services offered by Crawl Space Masters include crawl space humidity, crawl space insulation, crawl space mold removal, and removing the presence of water in crawl space.

Crawl Space Humidity

Crawl space humidity is an issue when humidity levels hit the 55% figure or more. Too much crawl space humidity will normally result in mold, wood rot fungus, the nasty and unwanted presence of insects and dust mites, as well as utility bills which will shock you at the end of the month. Too much crawl space humidity will affect even hardwood flooring and different kinds of floor coverings. Solutions offered include the use of French drains or curtain drains, in addition to making use of an interior drain system and sump pump to minimize humidity levels.

Crawl Space Insulation

The importance of hiring an experienced crawl space repair company in Yorkville TN for crawl space insulation cannot be understated – it will not only ensure a high level of energy efficiency in your home, ensuring that you remain nice and warm during winter and cold in the summer. Even after crawl space encapsulation, crawl space insulation is still an essential part of any building as evident in the requirements of local and national building codes. Depending on the property that is being looked at, foam board insulation, as well as closed cell spray foam would be used.

Crawl Space Mold Removal

As mold loves the dark and damp places to grow, the crawl space is one of the perfect places to facilitate the growth of mold. Inadvertently, this will lead to poor indoor air quality for everyone living at home. Hence, make sure that you get in touch with the right company to perform crawl space repair in Yorkville TN, when it comes to upgrading to a closed crawl space so that there is a moisture barrier on the floor and liners which will extend all the way up to the walls. This is also good for your monthly utility bills as heating and cooling costs will be reduced along the way.

Signs You Need Crawl Space Repairs

crawl space insulation Nashville, Tennessee

crawl space insulation 

Professional contractors have the experience and knowledge to determine the cause of the problem and offer the right solution. But when do you know it is time to bring in a professional crawl space repair contractor? Here are some signs you should look out for:

1. Presence of water

If there is water in your crawl space, most likely there is a major problem. You have to fix the problem before it causes further damage to your house. Letting it sit for a long time can also lead to other issues like weakened foundation, molds and mildew. Make sure to install a vapor barrier right away.

2. Insect infestation

Dark and damp areas like a crawl space are breeding grounds for insects. If you notice the appearance of insects like spiders or roaches in your house, this is a sure sign that your space is having problems. It’s true that insect infestation can be remedied by using insecticides or calling pest control, but the problem will just return unless you have your crawl space fixed.

3. Damp and heavy air

If there is moisture below the house the air becomes damp and heavy. This is not just limited to the affected area as air travels upwards to every part of the house. You need to have your space repaired immediately to avoid more severe problems in the future. It can also help avoid the health hazards that accompany moist air.

4. Higher electricity bills

There are several reasons why your electricity bills are skyrocketing like poor insulation or improper use of appliances. But crawl space problems can also be a factor. If it is properly insulated, it helps better air circulation in your house. This means that there is little need for an a/c; thereby, lowering your electrical consumption.

5. Sloping Floors

Another sign that you need a repair is when the floors and walls in your house slope or sag. Slopping floors and walls are an indication of a weakened foundation due to water damage. Moisture and water will cause the beams to rot. If you notice this in your home, make sure to call professional repair company right away.

Understanding the signs of damage helps prevent bigger problems in the future. When you see any of the signs given above, don’t hesitate to call a crawl space repair contractor immediately. Set an appointment with a local company for an assessment. Professional contractors can tell you what the problem is and the methods to fix it. But before you agree to anything, make sure that you compare different contractors first. This will help you make an informed decision regarding your problem.

If you are experiencing any of these crawl space symptoms it’s time to call in the professionals. Crawl Space Masters provide a wide range of services to help solve any crawl space problems that are affecting your home.